Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A thankful Attitude--Happy Thanksgiving

    I am at a wonderful point in my life as we celebrate another Thanksgiving holiday.  I have just celebrated 50 years as a member of the Franciscan Order and I will turn 70 in less than two weeks.   Joining the Franciscans was the best decision I ever made and I am grateful for every day of life that God gives me, especially since surviving prostate cancer over 8 years ago.

   A number of years ago a friend of mine talked about having gratitude as an attitude if one really wants to be happy in life.  That is so true.  I see any number of people who constantly grumble about what's wrong, what they don't have, and what's wrong with the world.  They are miserable people.  That doesn't mean that they are bad, just that they don't know how to be happy.

    Of course we all know that the world is in tough shape, as is our nation. Things could be better in most of our lives as well. Even in the Church there are problems. Thanksgiving calls us to realize that while this is true we still have so much to be thankful for.  It is a matter of what we focus on. Today I choose to be grateful not only for life and for being a friar but for the many people that the Lord has put in the path of my life who have been a blessing to me or for whom I may have been a blessing for them.  My book, The Wandering Friar, tells of many of those blessings. I am grateful for my family which is continuing to grow through marriage and the birth of new life.  I am grateful as well for the fact that the beauty of this earth is mine to behold and appreciate even without owning one square inch of it.

   Finally I am thankful for the gift of faith, a thanks expressed most especially in the Eucharist, a word derived from the Greek word for thanks, because in the Eucharist the Lord give us Himself. Now that is really something to be thankful for.

   So, Happy thanksgiving everyone.  Focus on the many things we can be grateful for.  That is the only way we will be able to reach what we still seek for  and overcome the problems in our own lives and in the world.

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